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TSA Drops Large Aircraft Security Program

EAA commented and met extensively with TSA opposing the proposal

January 24, 2017 - The Transportation Security Administration this month completely dropped the Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) it first proposed in 2008, ending the threat of extensive and onerous new security regulations on operators of private aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds.

EAA had vigorously opposed the program when it was first released, submitting nearly 60 pages of comments to the docket, commenting in person at a 2009 TSA public hearing in Chicago, and attending extensive and repeated meetings at TSA headquarters. EAA saw the rogram as regulation that would force private aircraft owners to seek permission to fly their own aircraft, a first in U.S. transportation regulation.

“We are very pleased that the TSA finally dropped this overreaching and unworkable plan,” said Sean Elliott, EAA vice president of advocacy and safety. “While many people had forgotten about this proposal, EAA had not. We maintained a close watch on any movement, as it would have significantly harmed general aviation and many of the larger warbirds in particular.”

The LASP was introduced in October of 2008 and introduced required provisions for aircraft operators such as criminal history checks for flight crews, checking of passenger names against No-Fly and Selectee Lists, and compliance with Prohibited Items List for scheduled airlines. It also mandated the creation and biennial auditing of an operator security program.

“One of the gravest concerns expressed by EAA members and the broader flying public is the dramatic shift in the role government would play in the lives and freedoms of American businesses and families,” EAA wrote in its 2009 comments. “They are deeply dismayed and disturbed that the federal government would inject itself into approving how, when, and with whom private American citizens may travel domestically. The idea that the American government would have to give tacit approval before U.S. citizens could travel in their own personal conveyance shocks and appalls everyone without exception.”

EAA also maintained that the proposed regulations were unworkable, especially given the differences between general aviation and commercial operations. There were also constitutional questions as to the scope of TSA’s ability to create regulations for general aviation.

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